Fife musician selected for prestigious programme

Mikael Petersson, music planning co-ordinator and pianist at Elmhurst Ballet School with Connor Wilcox.
Mikael Petersson, music planning co-ordinator and pianist at Elmhurst Ballet School with Connor Wilcox.

A Burntisland musician is gaining experience in the working life of a professional ballet pianist with a placement on a prestigious scheme.

Connor Wilcox, a former pupil of Balwearie High in Kirkcaldy, is currently on Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Elmhurst Ballet School’s Placement for Pianists programme, which has been so successful it has just been extended for another year.

The programme provides a rare opportunity for music students to explore the specialised artistry and technique of ballet pianism during mentoring, observational and practical sessions – with pianists working full-time at Elmhurst Ballet School, the associate school of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Interest was huge and, after an audition process, piano students Connor Wilcox and Yung-Li Chen from Taiwan were selected to take part.

Over the last four months, Connor and Yung-Li have attended ten sessions at the Edgbaston-based ballet school, played for ballet classes, spent a day observing pianists at Birmingham Royal Ballet and have benefitted from one-to-one tutorials with Elmhurst’s pianists Mikael Petersson and Elaine Li – both also graduates of the renowned Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, which was granted its Royal title by Her Majesty The Queen in 2017.

Julian Lloyd Webber, principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “We prepare our students for the opportunities presented by the future of the profession, with the intention they leave us as employable music professionals.”